Saturday, November 21, 2009

Solidarity messages for California students from Britain, Pakistan and around the world

A Statement in Support of the Faculty, Students and Staff of the University of California from the University of Southern Maine Faculty Senate*

    We, members of the University of Southern Maine (USM) Faculty Senate, cannot remain indifferent in front of the repression by the police of the protest which the students of the University of California (UC) have organized against the decision by the UC administration to layoff many faculty and staff and raise tuition fees by 32%. It is unacceptable that a mass mobilization in defense of the California system of education be addressed with batons.
    Equally important, the de-funding of the California education system is a defeat also for teachers, staff and students in Maine and across the country, given the important role that UC has played in the history of public higher education in North America, and the example this policy sets for other university administrators.
    Already, in state after state, in the name of the economic crisis, university budgets are slashed, jobs are terminated, and rising tuition fees are forcing students out of the universities,  which are thereby becoming accessible only to the well-to-do. It may be only a matter of time until many of us face the same cuts the UC students, staff and faculty are now protesting and have to choose between capitulation to an unjust policy or brutalization.
    Consequently, we, members of the USM Faculty Senate, express our support of the resistance which the UC faculty, staff and students have organized against lay-offs, furloughs, and tuition increases, and call upon the California legislature, the governor, and the UC governing board to rescind such a disastrous policy. We also condemn the violent suppression of the non-violent protest of the UC faculty, staff and students and call for the release of all students arrested and the dropping of the charges against them.

*This statement passed the USM Faculty Senate nearly unanimously on Friday, December 4, 2009. For more information contact the Chair of the USM Faculty Senate, Prof. Jerry LaSala at LASALA@USM.MAINE.EDU.

The Ontario Coalition Against Poverty sends this message of solidarity and support for the students at the University of California for their courageous actions and occupation against the cuts to education in California. It is this kind of work that inspires students and activists everywhere to fight back against the current attacks on students, workers and public services and even deeper cuts and assaults to come. We condemn the police action against you and demand an immediate withdrawal of all charges against students involved.

In Solidarity,

Ontario Coalition Against Poverty:

Ontario, Canada

As  a parent of third level students who are currently in Ireland and the UK, I am only too aware of the universiality of the attacks on students as their governments try to make them pay for an economic crisis not of their making.
All success to these students of California in their fightback!

Jimmy Kelly,
Member of the Executive Council of the Technical, Engineering and Electrical Union of Ireland.

To brave students of California,

We are watching with absolute interest the brave action that you are taking to defend the right of a decent education. The budget cuts in education is a real attack on the right of working class youth to education.

You have taken a right step by showing a culture of resistence. We condemn the police action against students and demand an immediate withdrawal of all cases against the students.

We in Pakistan salute to your courageous action and believe that your success is our success and your fight is out fight, an injury to one is an injury to all,Long live the struggle of students to defend right of a decent education,

Our solidarity with students in struggle,

Victory is ours

Farooq Tariq
Labour Party Pakistan

Kashif Aslam
Progressive Youth Front Pakistan

Irfan Choudry
National Students Federation Punjab 

From Britain
Solidarity and support for the California students, your struggle is our struggle, victory to the students from :
Ed Glasson - Secretary.

Terry Pearce - Chairman.

Val Pearce - Regional Committee Member.

Bracknell Branch of UNITE the Union.

In my capacity as Trade Union Officer of the Campaign for a New Workers Party and as a member of the National Shop Stewards Network, I send my personal expressions of solidarity and support.

Terry Pearce.

Greetings to your campaign against cuts in education. The right to an education is a fundamental human right.

All over the world young people are facing the threat of unemployment. Education is a crucial part of the fight for jobs. Your struggle is part of a world struggle against injustice and oppression.

Ed Bober

Norfolk UK

From Roger Silverman:
The Editorial Board of CARBOLIC - the independent voice of students at Lister Community School in the East End of London, UK - send their greetings and full support to the students who are fighting education cuts in California.

Students in the UK too are facing drastic cuts in public education, as part of the terrible price all working people are paying for the hundreds of billions of dollars handed over to the bankers, who by their greed have created the worst economic crisis for decades.

We agree with the students of California: education is our right. It is not for sale.

Sisters and Brothers of the Solidarity Alliance at UC Berkeley,

We, Zengakuren (All-Japan Federation of Student Self-Government Associations), send you heartfelt greeting of support for, and solidarity with, the historical three-day strike and walk out by workers and students in California and the Solidarity Alliance at UC-Berkeley-on September 24. UC workers’ and students’ statewide strike and walkout against privatization of public education deeply moved us; we in Japan are fighting against the same privatization of universities as yours.

Two weeks ago, sister Claire Keating from the Student Worker Action Team of UCB attended our rallies and meetings in Japan, including International Workers’ Rally of November 1, and shared her wealth of experiences in the struggle in UCB with us. We thank you, sister Claire, for your warm comradeship and solidarity with us Japanese students.

In the global economic crisis and massive unemployment, the governments are desperately seeking to restore capital’s domination of the world at the sacrifice of hundreds of millions workers. This is the policy of privatization and war.

On Friday, US President Obama came to Japan and held talks with Prime Minister Hatoyama. Their administrations are aiming to strengthen the US-Japan military alliance and to construct a new US military base in Okinawa in order to continue the war in the Middle East.

We are facing common problem, both in Japan and in the USA and in every country around the world: the governments are destroying public education and cutting social welfare, while spending huge amounts of tax money to bail out banks and big businesses and to expand war.

In Japan, the neoliberal policies were launched with the privatization of the National Railways in 1980s. Since then, the government accelerated the attack on labor unions to weaken them and to compel their submission. Irregular jobs have been rapidly increasing and social security system has been violently dismantled.

As for education, public education has been continuously attacked. The national universities have been turned into “national university corporations.” The objectives of education have been overtly subordinated to the state and capital. The tuitions of private universities have been increased by 240% in 30 years and that of the national universities nearly by 5,000 % in the same period. Restructuring of universities has been railroaded with the battle cries: “enhance employability” and “offer human resources for corporations.” Independent students’ activities, such as student self-government associations, cultural circles and dormitories have been destroyed one after another.

Most of Japanese private universities invested large portion of their financial resources to dubious financial instruments and incurred enormous losses amounting tens or hundreds of millions dollars. Every year, around 8,000 students drop out of universities because of increased tuition fees. Many students are forced to take side jobs to pay tuition fees and are driven to job hunting; they can “study”, not to mention group activities.

In one of the most prestigious private universities in Japan, Hosei University in Tokyo, repressive measures, such as repeated punishments, physical attacks and arrests by police are imposed upon students who protest neoliberal policies of the university administration mentioned above. Since March 2006, the security police have arrested 112 students; 8 of them are still in detention. The Hosei University administration justifies all these brutal attacks as necessary measures against “violation of ‘business right and interests’” —profiteering interests.

However, we have never caved in. Our struggle is more and more spirited. “Fight uncompromisingly against privatization of education!” “Don’t allow education to be a tool of making money!” “Take back universities, education and our future in the hands of students” are our slogans.

Today, it is increasingly important for us to fight against neoliberalism in our own workplaces and campuses and internationally develop unity and solidarity of workers and students who fight against war and privatization.

The workers and students internationally united have a power to change society and create a history. This is our conviction.

Struggle of sisters and brothers in California will win an immeasurable support and sympathy from the workers and students of the state, the nation, and the world.

In Solidarity,
November 15, 2009

Acting President of Zengakuren


From Individuals 

I fully support your cause. As a recent graduate of the CSU system I was going to pursue my PhD, but due to the economic crisis, reduced income and tuition hikes the dream eludes me. California was once the leader in public education. Now our education is failing not only our children the the future of our society and our country. The generation before us has reaped the rewards of an affordable and quality education system. We have been left behind. Watch the 2 Million Minutes Documentary you will see how dire our situation truly is.

These students do not deserve to be punished for speaking out and taking action. A burglary charge is unjust and excessive! It is charges and convictions such as these that cause further dissension and perpetuate the us vs. them mentality.  

Endeliza Hampton Oakland, Ca.
"Failure is necessary in order to succeed at anything."  C. Williamson

“To the students, staff and workers on California’s campuses: Greetings on your brave struggle against these massive hikes in fees and brutal layoffs. Those who created this financial crisis should pay the price not the innocent victims of it. Good luck in spreading and winning your fight. And in the future let's create together an educational system where we take these decisions, not unaccountable individuals who only represent a rich economic and political elite.” Pat Byrne, Freedom and Solidarity Party, Turkey.  

From UAW opposition

To the students and workers of California and the March 4th movement:

As auto workers we know only too well what cut backs and attacks mean.  We have lost hundreds of thousands of jobs. Wages were cut in half. Health care benefits and pensions that our parents and grandparents struggled to achieve have been eliminated.  Lean production, the Toyota model  of manufacturing which promotes continuous, incremental increases in stress, has become the model for our society. Whether it's teachers and students, nurses and social workers, police and fire fighters, or cashiers competing with customers willing to scab in the self scan check out line, we are all subjected to the demand to do more with less, to work harder and longer for less, to study and sacrifice and persist for the promise that one day we will be rewarded with less so that the casino capitalists can sweep all the chips from the table tax exempt.

Bothers and sisters, it is not just about the money.They already have all the money. And they have plans for all the money you and I, and all working people will ever make in our lives. It's not about the money, it's about control. Control over the most basic components of our lives. Control over the most primary decisions we make about who and what and where and how we live. Human rights are not defined by law or contract or provost. Human rights our defined by struggle. We will win what we are willing to fight for. Nothing more.

We are soldiers in the struggle for solidarity as the premiere model of social interaction. We are committed to braking the sudden uncontrolled acceleration of attacks on students and the working class. We are committed to living our lives in solidarity, equality, peace, and the prosperity that an equitable system of distribution would mean for the vast majority of people.

The soldiers of solidarity support your struggle and look forward to strengthening ties between students, teachers, and all working people including those in the prison industrial complex.

In solidarity, Gregg Shotwell,retired UAW member and cofounder of soldiers of solidarity.

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